Lena Hickman-Miott helped start the Loudoun County Virginia Chapter (LCVC) of Jack and Jill of America Inc. in 2001.
"I was aware of the organization when I was younger, but this was something I took on for my son, to get involved in the community," Hickman-Miott said. "He is now 15."
Hickman-Miott, the first president of LCVC, currently serves as community service chair.
"Mothers hold the membership in Jack and Jill of America but we have activities for the entire family involvement," Hickman-Miott said. "Fathers play an instrumental role as well and are involved with many of the activities."
JACK AND JILL OF AMERICA Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides cultural, recreational and educational activities to young people throughout the country. The organization was established by a group of 20 mothers in Philadelphia in 1938, to bring children together and raise funds to improve the quality of life of African-American children.
LCVC was established in August 2002 to enhance young people’s lives through community service and recreational activities at a local level.
The organization is geared toward young African-Americans, ages 2 through 19 and has approximately 35 mother members and 65 young members. The organization provides an outlet for students to give back to the community, volunteer and learn from each other.
Hickman-Miott and other members of Jack and Jill of America Inc. help students help members of their community.
LCVC Jack and Jill members volunteer at local organizations, like the Transitional Housing Center shelter for homeless families in Leesburg, the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter, Loudoun’s Youth Shelter and So Others Might Eat (SOME) in Washington, D.C. Last year, students participated in a local coat drive and this year, they are collecting cleaning product for the Transitional Housing Center.
"It gives us a reach within the community," Hickman-Miott said. "It gives African-American families the opportunity to come together and share their experiences with each other.
THE LOUDOUN COUNTY Virginia Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. will present its third annual Black History Program, Feb. 19, at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn.
Leslie Marshall is the co-chair of the Black History Program Committee.
"This year, our theme is ‘Honoring Our Past and Shaping Our Future,’" Marshall said.
Marshall invited Loudoun County resident Irene Walker-Bobich to the Black History event, to discuss what it was like to grow up as an African-American woman in Loudoun County in during the Civil Rights Era.
"She was raised in Leesburg, right on Loudoun Street," Marshall said. "She is living history."
Walker-Bobich is a community activist.
The Dominion High School step team will perform, as well as "High Praise" ministry dance group from Capital Community Church in Ashburn.
In addition to history lessons and musical guests, LCVC teens will emcee the event.
"The teens will perform a hip-hop dance and talk about being black and being proud," Marshall said. "The younger kids will talk about their plans for the future. It is going to be a nice, broad program."
LCVC will present a check to Ashburn’s Next Level 4 Teens, a nonprofit youth organization.
"Some of our fund-raising money goes to the Jack and Jill Foundation, a nonprofit," Marshall said. "We also hold a lot of funds to conduct local community activities and donate to local organizations."
The event is free. The chapter will be collecting cleaning products, such as detergent, bleach and bathroom cleaners, for the Transitional Housing Center in Loudoun at the event.
To become a Jack and Jill of America Inc. member, visit www.jack-and-jill.org.
"The best part of this organization is being able to give back to the community collectively," Hickman-Miott said.